Childhood obesity is currently on the rise in the United States. Linked to various physical and psychological risks, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and low self-esteem, it’s important to identify how we can keep our children healthy. The Healthy Path Foundation lists the top four ways to prevent childhood obesity and promote optimal health:
Encourage healthy eating habits. Along with small portions, include plenty of vegetables and fruits for healthy toddler meals. Be sure to regularly add lean protein from chicken or fish and nuts. Stress the importance of staying hydrated with water as opposed to other sugary drinks, and also limit access to any sweet or empty calorie-filled snacks.
Stay active. Whether it’s taking a walk or signing up for a sport, getting exercise is extremely important in combatting obesity at any age. There are various opportunities available for your child to get involved in. Dancing, swimming, karate, or anything else that gets the heart pumping for an extended period of time is a great option.
Properly educate. Teach your children about healthy habits. Explain the benefits of eating well and exercising, as well as the dangers and risks of being unhealthy. If they understand the importance of eating broccoli at dinner or why you encourage them to join after-school soccer, they will be more likely to participate more willingly.
Be a role model. The last, and most important, way to prevent childhood obesity is to represent everything you teach your children in what you do. If your child sees you eating healthily, they will be more likely to do the same. Likewise, if they see you eating badly and rarely exercising, they will imitate that as well. Find something active you and your child can do and enjoy together to make being healthy more fun for the whole family.